The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has join the NATE Blue Button for Consumers (NBB4C) Trust Bundle, demonstrating its commitment to enabling its Veterans to send their health data to the consumer-facing app (CFA) of their choice.
Becoming a member of NATE will allow VA to collaborate on policies and procedures for sharing trusted health information with consumers outside of the VA health system through the use of Direct Messaging and other electronic transport protocols.
With the majority of Veterans receiving some portion of their care at a healthcare facility that is not part of the Veterans Health Administration, giving Veterans the ability to share their health data with a consumer controlled application enables the Veteran to mediate who has access to their data, one outcome of which is improved coordination of care.
Commenting on its NATE membership, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Under Secretary for Health Dr. David Shulkin stated, “VA is currently testing functionality that enables Veterans to share their health information with providers outside the VA and to integrate their data into a growing number of safe and secure health-related consumer applications. Participating in NATE allows VA to continue to be a national leader in enabling our Veteran patients to take control over their health information and become informed and active partners in their overall healthcare.”
VA has been a long-time supporter of Direct Messaging. In addition to being members of the Direct Project from its inception, they also provided leadership and federal policy subject matter expertise to the Federal Health Architecture’s Directed Exchange Workgroup.
NATE’s trust bundles leverage Direct Messaging protocols for sharing information between provider-controlled EHRs and consumer-controlled CFAs, so that consumers can then do what they want with their own data. VA’s NATE membership and trust bundle participation complements VA’s current membership with DirectTrust, which provides similar services for provider-to-provider Direct Messaging. Adding NATE’s consumer Direct Messaging focus will provide VA with a broader use of Direct to support Veterans’ healthcare.